Book Talks

Book Talks 2022-2023

Book Talks are designed to give UM faculty with a humanities focus an opportunity to share their recently published books with the community. Faculty generally present on their research and take questions from the audience.   

We're back @ Books & Books! (265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134) Please join us for Book Talks this academic year! Please RSVP for the program to allow for set-up. Programs take place on Monday evenings, starting at 6:30pm.*  

If you have time before the Book Talk, please join the Center's Director Hugh Thomas for "Happy Hour with Hugh" @ 5:30pm prior to the program.

*Please note that the Book Talk on September 6, 2022 will take place on a Tuesday (to accommodate the Labor Day holiday).

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  • Happy Hour with Hugh (@ 5:30pm before each Book Talk this Fall 2022)!


    Happy Hour with Hugh @ 5:30pm 

    (Before each Book Talk this Fall 2022 @ Books & Books)

    Hugh Thomas, Director of the Center for the Humanities
    Professor, History, University of Miami

    Arrive early to peruse featured books and treat yourself
    to food + beverages on the Books & Books menu!

  • September 6: Terri Francis

    Tuesday, September 6, 2022 at 6:30 PM

    Books & Books, Coral Gables

    Terri Francis

    Associate Professor of Cinematic Arts and Associate Dean of Inclusion and Outreach
    University of Miami 

    Josephine Baker's Cinematic Prism

    Josephine Baker, the first Black woman to star in a major motion picture, was both liberated and delightfully undignified, playfully vacillating between allure and colonialist stereotyping. 
    Nicknamed the "Black Venus," "Black Pearl," and "Creole Goddess," Baker blended the sensual and the comedic when taking 1920s Europe by storm. Back home in the United States, Baker's film career brought hope to the Black press that a new cinema centered on Black glamour would come to fruition. In Josephine Baker's Cinematic Prism, Terri Simone Francis examines how Baker fashioned her celebrity through cinematic reflexivity, an authorial strategy in which she placed herself, her persona, and her character into visual dialogue. Francis contends that though Baker was an African American actress who lived and worked in France exclusively with a white film company, white costars, white writers, and white directors, she holds monumental significance for African American cinema as the first truly global Black woman film star. Francis also examines the double-talk between Baker and her characters in Le Pompier de Folies BergèreLa Sirène des TropiquesZou ZouPrincesse Tam Tam, and The French Way, whose narratives seem to undermine the very stardom they offered. In doing so, Francis artfully illuminates the most resonant links between emergent African American cinephilia, the diverse opinions of Baker in the popular press, and African Americans' broader aspirations for progress toward racial equality. 
    Examining an unexplored aspect of Baker's career, Josephine Baker's Cinematic Prism deepens the ongoing conversation about race, gender, and performance in the African diaspora.

    Terri Francis is Associate Professor of Cinematic Arts and Associate Dean of Inclusion and Outreach. Dr. Francis brings twenty years of experience in film exhibition to her role. In Miami, she plans to create events and discussions that explore archives and the moving image based on her explorations of global black film history.

    Dr. Francis is the author of Josephine Baker’s Cinematic Prism published by Indiana University Press in 2021. A scholar of Black film history and aesthetics, her writing and curating engages film archives, film feelings, and the vicissitudes of performance and representation within a global perspective. Currently, her introduction to “Josephine Baker, Queen of Paris” is streaming on the Criterion Channel.

    Dr. Francis has published her research on Jamaican nontheatrical films as “Sounding the Nation: Martin Rennalls and the Jamaica Film Unit, 1951-1961” in Film History. In 2013, she guest-edited a special section on Afrosurrealism in the journal Black Camera. Her critical essays appear in TransitionAnother Gaze, and, and she has provided film commentary for National Public Radio.

    Register here!


  • September 26: William Rothman

    Monday, September 26, 2022 at 6:30 PM

    Books & Books, Coral Gables

    William Rothman

    Professor, Cinematic Arts, School of Communication
    University of Miami 

    The Holiday in His Eye: Stanley Cavell's Vision of Film and Philosophy

    Stanley Cavell is widely considered one of the most important modern American philosophers. From The World Viewed to Cities of Words, writing about movies was strand over strand with Stanley Cavell's philosophical work. Cavell was one of the first philosophers in the United States to make film a significant focus of his thought, and William Rothman has long been one of his most astute readers. The Holiday in His Eye collects Rothman's writings about Cavell—many of them previously unpublished—to offer a lucid, serious introduction to and overview of Cavell's work, the influence of which has been somewhat limited by both the intrinsic difficulty of his ideas and his challenging prose style. In these engaging and accessible yet philosophically serious and rigorously argued essays, Rothman presents an original, insightful, and compelling vision of the trajectory of Cavell's oeuvre, one that takes Cavell's kinship with Emerson as inextricably bound up with his ever-deepening thinking about movies.

    William Rothman is Professor of Cinema Arts. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard, where he was an Associate Professor in Visual and Environmental Studies (1976-84), and was Director of the International Honors Program on Film, Television and Social Change in Asia (1986-90).

    Dr. Rothman was the founding editor and Series Editor of Harvard University Press’s “Harvard Film Studies” series, and for many years was Series Editor of Cambridge University Press’s “Studies in Film.” His books include the landmark study Hitchcock—The Murderous Gaze (1982; expanded edition 2012), The “I” of the Camera (1988; expanded edition 2004); Documentary Film Classics (1997); A Philosophical Perspective on Film (2000); Cavell on Film (2005); Jean Rouch: A Celebration of Life and Film (2007); Three Documentary Filmmakers (2009); Must We Kill the Thing We Love? Emersonian Perfectionism and the Films of Alfred Hitchcock (2014); Looking with Robert Gardner (2016); Tuitions and Intuitions: Essays at the Intersection of Film and Philosophy (2019); and The Holiday in His Eye: Stanley Cavell’s Vision of Film and Philosophy (2021). He has also contributed chapters to more than sixty books and dozens of essays in the major film studies journals, and liner notes and visual essays to Criterion DVDs of classic films. He has given keynote addresses and special invited lectures in over thirty countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand.

    With his wife, Kitty Morgan, Dr. Rothman wrote and co-produced (with the National Film Development Corporation of India) the 35mm feature film Unni (1990), directed by the distinguished Indian director G. Aravindan.

    Register here!

  • October 24: Mihoko Suzuki

    Monday, October 24, 2022 at 6:30 PM

    Mihoko Suzuki

    Professor Emerita, English
    University of Miami 

    Antigone's Example: Early Modern Women's Political Writing in Times of Civil War from Christine de Pizan to Helen Maria Williams

    This book investigates early modern women’s interventions in politics and the public sphere during times of civil war in England and France. Taking this transcultural and comparative perspective, and the period designation “early modern” expansively, Antigone’s Example identifies a canon of women’s civil-war writings; it elucidates their historical specificity as well as the transhistorical context of civil war, a context which, it argues, enabled women’s participation in political thought.

    “A beautifully written book by one of the leading experts in the field, this is a major contribution on women’s political texts, one that raises vital questions about the history, genres, and chronologies of European political thought, and one that will shape future debate.”—Amanda Capern, editor, Routledge History of Women in Early Modern Europe

    “This is a major work of comparative literary and cultural history. Deeply researched, strikingly illustrated, and cogently argued, the book makes a compelling case for revising Giorgio Agamben’s influential notion of a “state of exception” in the light of women’s subaltern perspectives and persuasively argues for the importance of Machiavelli for women’s political writings. Suzuki’s book illuminates a rich set of women writers’ views of themselves as political counsellors who used their literary skills to evade censorship and thus speak truth to power.”—Margaret W. Ferguson, author, Dido’s Daughters: Literacy, Gender, and Empire in Early Modern England and France

    “Expertly written and theoretically rich, this book fundamentally challenges the masculinity of political thought and deepens our understanding of the meaning and impact of civil war. Antigone’s Example is truly a field-defining book by its leading scholar.”—Joanne Wright, author, Origin Stories in Political Thought: Discourses on Gender, Power, and Citizenship; coeditor, Feminist Interpretations of Thomas Hobbes.

    Mihoko Suzuki is Professor of English and Cooper Fellow in the Humanities Emerita at the University of Miami.

    Register here!  


  • December 5: Christina Civantos

    Monday, December 5, 2022 at 6:30 PM

    Christina Civantos

    Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures
    University of Miami 

    Jamón and Halal: Lessons in Tolerance from Rural Andalucía

    Contemporary Spain reflects broader patterns of globalization and has been the site of tensions between nationalists and immigrants. This case study examines a rural town in Spain’s Andalucía in order to shed light on the workings of coexistence. The town of Órgiva’s diverse population includes hippies from across Europe, European converts to Sufi Islam, and immigrants from North Africa. Christina Civantos combines the analysis of written and visual cultural texts with oral narratives from residents. In this book, we see that although written and especially televisual narratives about the town highlight tolerance and multiculturalism, they mask tensions and power differentials. Toleration is an ongoing negotiation and this book shows us how we can identify the points of contact that create robust, respect-based tolerance.

    Christina Civantos is in Modern Languages and Literatures at the University of Miami. She is the author of Between Argentines and Arabs: Argentine Orientalism, Arab Immigrants, and the Writing of Identity (SUNY) and The Afterlife of al-Andalus: Muslim Iberia in Contemporary Arab and Hispanic Narratives (SUNY). 

    Register here!


  • January 30: Lillian Manzor

    Monday, January 30, 2023 at 6:30 PM

    Lillian Manzor

    Associate Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures
    University of Miami 

  • February 27: Donald Spivey

    Monday, Februrary 27, 2023 at 6:30 PM

    Donald Spivey

    Distinguished Professor and Cooper Fellow, College of Arts and Sciences
    University of Miami 

  • March 20: Omar Vargas

    Monday, March 20, 2023 at 6:30 PM

    Omar Vargas

    Associate Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures
    University of Miami 


  • April 17: Jafari Allen

    Monday, April 17, 2023 at 6:30 PM 

    Jafari Allen

    Associate Professor, Anthropology
    University of Miami